(Bloomberg) -- Two Iranian men were charged for interfering in the 2020 presidential election by hacking confidential U.S. voter information from at least one state election website and sending threatening emails to Democrats purportedly from the white supremacy group Proud Boys.
The emails, which the U.S. disclosed last year, warned tens of thousands of Democratic to vote for Donald Trump for president, according to an indictment released on Thursday.
“This indictment details how two Iran-based actors waged a targeted, coordinated campaign to erode confidence in the integrity of the U.S. electoral system and to sow discord among Americans,” Matthew Olsen, the recently-confirmed head of the Justice Department’s national security division, said in a statement.
“The allegations illustrate how foreign disinformation campaigns operate and seek to influence the American public,” Olsen added. “The Department is committed to exposing and disrupting malign foreign influence efforts using all available tools, including criminal charges.”
The hackers also targeted Republican senators and House members, people on Trump’s presidential campaign, White House advisors and members of the media “falsely claiming that the Democratic Party was planning to exploit ‘serious security vulnerabilities’ in state voter registration websites to ‘edit mail- in ballots or even register non- existent voters.’ In the False Election Messages, the members of the conspiracy claimed to be a “group of Proud Boys volunteers.”
The men charged were identified as Seyyed Mohammad Hosein Musa Kazemi and Sajjad Kashia, who are identified as “experienced Iran-based computer hackers who worked as contractors for an Iran-based company formerly known as Eeleyanet Gostar, and now known as Emennet Pasargad.”
In addition to the threatening emails, hackers stole information on about 100,000 voters from one state’s “misconfigured” computers, DOJ said.
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